Have you thought how you can be creative for life?

To be creative for life is one of my goals. Perhaps it is one we share. The idea of being on a lifelong learning journey excites and stimulates me. So does the idea of living creatively. The two seem interrelated.

Creative for life
Creative for life

Everyone knows that creativity is is for painters and poets, sculptors and scribes.


There are dozens of definitions of creativity. Philosophers, neuroscientists, quantum physicists,  psychotherapists, historians, ethnologists,  theologians,  educators and writers claim to know what is creative.

They all recognise that creativity affects them and their work. They’ve come up with their own definitions and theories.

Put simply, creativity is a playful process through which something new and valuable is produced. Creativity is fun.

Little children are naturally playful and creative. That’s how they learn. Often creativity doesn’t continue. This instinct to discover and create is often suppressed. Most of us have experienced the socialising process.

My great-granddaughter Alexandra Linton at play
My great-granddaughter Alexandra Linton at play

Our parents wanted us to conform to their way of thinking and being. They were responsible for ‘socialising’ their children. They forgot to tell us we should be creative for life.

At school, kids are taught that there are right and wrong ways of doing what they do. Artistic attempts are criticised. The way they put down their ideas in writing are ‘corrected’. Perhaps they’re told they sing off key, or too loudly.  Some  are even shamed when they try to express ourselves.

Eventually, creativity gets blocked by the censoring voices that we  all take on board.

The good news is that creativity can be freed and cultivated in all aspects of life.

How to be creative for life
How to be creative for life


I know I’ve said this in previous posts, but for anyone serious about unblocking their creativity, I highly recommend The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering your Creative Self by Julia Cameron.

Published in 1994 it is still available. It has been an international best seller. I discovered the book fifteen years ago.



I’d always been keen on writing and craft, gardening, decorating my home and gardening. But always within self-imposed limits. Always self-critical and self-conscious about my endeavours. I never called them work. I saw them as add-on extras to my ‘real’ life.

Over the twelve weeks of the course,  I faithfully followed the suggestions in each of the chapters. I  began to write ‘morning pages’ and to take myself weekly on what the author calls ‘artist’s dates’. I also walked every morning, which seems to have been the practice of many famous creative people.

I got the message that I could be creative for life.

I began to discover all sorts of things I had not previously known about myself. Already in my sixties, I gave myself permission to experiment and  play.

My life took off in new and exciting directions. Ideas developed, and the freedom to experiment. I did the things I’d always loved but in more imaginative ways.

Colour flooded into my life. Shocks of deep pink and purple appeared where previously there had been only cream. Decorating became more experimental, less fixed. Everything could change if it became boring. My cooking improved. So did my garden. I was more creative at work.  Relationships blossomed.

Carminole, one of my favourite Roses (in our garden this morning)
Carminole, one of my favourite Roses (in our garden this morning)

I began and completed a Master of Arts (Writing) full-time while still working as a CEO of a non-government agency. I wrote my first (unpublishable) novel. I had fun.

Free to try new things, I also had the odd failure. The the outdoor setting I painted bright turquoise  jarred horribly with my beautiful, peaceful garden. Someone took them away an hour after I put them on the street verge. Someone liked them!

Being creative takes courage. The danger of failure is always present. But who cares as long as you are having fun? Learning from failure is itself a creative activity.


Please share a little of your creative journey in a comment on my post.

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6 replies on “Creative for life – my goal”

  1. Thanks, yet again Maureen, for an insightful blog.

    One of my creativity ‘births’ (for want of a better metaphor) is an awareness that I am more able to let things go now than I used to. I don’t allow as many issues to get me down. I am more able to let go, not worry about so much. I enjoy a beautiful sense of freedom, a sense of ‘Me”.

    I am so thankful.

    1. Glad you enjoyed my post, Elizabeth B, and that you took time to let me know and to add to my ideas. That’s a lovely idea. Creativity needs space to grow, and when we are full up (another metaphor) with concerns and cares (and in my case, other people’s dramas) we become open to the whispering of inspiration and free to become who we are meant to be. Thank you for your insight.

  2. Inspirational thoughts, Maureen.

    Elsewhere I’ve quoted from Drusilla Modjeska’s wonderful book, Stravinsky’s Lunch where she talks about creativity in the words of the Australian artists Grace Cossington Smith. It bears repeating here:

    “‘A continual try,’ she said. It’s true of painting, it’s true of writing, and it’s true of life. The process of staying with that continual try can produce long low loops and sudden illuminations, which we see in retrospect as springing open and banging closed. But in the tug and pull of time it is another day lived, another piece of board on the easel, another squeeze from the tube. Cadmium yellow, spectrum yellow, aurelion, Indian yellow, lemon. The sun is God, Turner said at the end of his life. If anyone knew about yellow, he did…”

    Lovely ideas that match yours here. Thanks.

    1. Thank you for visiting my blog, Elisabeth, and for adding to my ideas so beautifully. Creativity is always trying to do something that has not been done before. It is a process to be honoured and enjoyed. I had forgotten about Stravinsky’s Lunch and now must revisit it.

  3. I relate to everything you’ve mentioned here, especially about the creativity being socialised and educated out of us as children. Alas, our children are still being educated that way, certainly in high school, where marks are much more important.
    I also related to the discouragement we get when we first start learning something new and creative. If our first attempts aren’t any good, people are very quick to tell us, without giving us a chance to practice and learn. My son recently started debating, and I told him not to worry if he didn’t do well the first time, that it was a skill learnt over many years, and if he enjoyed it, stick with it and that’s how he’ll improve. No one expects doctors to be good at doctoring as soon as they start—they allow them time to learn the art and craft of medicine. But it’s different in the arts—people expect you to show potential from the outset, as if only those anointed with the gift should continue. But it can be learnt and you can improve with practice.

    1. Hi, Louise, Sorry, I seem to have missed this comment. Thank you. I don’t think it is just in secondary school that kids are having creativity socialised and educated out of them. I have a just-turned-five year-old great granddaughter who started pre-primary school this year. She has already been ‘tested’to see where she fits on the educational ladder. I can hardly believe it. In year three she and her peers will undergo their first NAPLAN test. Woe betide any child who presents creative answers or fails to conform. It is very very sad.

      And you are right about people (many of whom do little creative activity) feel they can criticise first attempts. The trouble with the arts like writing, painting, sculpting, etc. is that every new piece of work is just that. It is new and therefore the artist, writer, etc. has to work out ways to do this new venture. In effect, we are beginners all the time. I guess that the other side of this is that creatives just keep on making new things. Once we are mature enough, we don’t listen to the critics who want to silence us. BTW, you have amazingly talented and creative children. Well done for not letting them be brow-beaten into mediocracy.

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